In an epic battle that went down to the wire the Mighty Lions were able to snatch victory from the clutches of despair.
Rallied by the home crowd and the bellowing chants of "ALBERT,
ALBERT" the boys were primed for the occasion.
An opportunity to play in front of their peers and on hallowed ground. Rallied also by the support and encouraging words of former deputy head boy, current assistant coach to LEEDS RHINOS (super league), head coach of the Samoan National rugby league team, William Poching.
Messages of support also arrived from world cup winning old boys Thomas Leuluai and Steve Matai, also Se'e Solomona (former national rep and an original WARRIOR), Sonny Bill Williams also passed on his words of wisdom. All of who have been following the team with great interest.
The game didn't start as per the script, James Cook taking a
10-point lead within the first 15 minutes.
It took some individual brilliance from stand off Adam Henry, scoring close to the post and in front of an ecstatic grandstand to get the boys going.
The team then went on to show some dominance and gain field position, ending the half trailing 10 -6.
Second half saw the team start with the intensity that was
Dominance in both field position and also possession of the ball saw the team once again come away with the points and take the lead 12 - 10 with less than 10 remaining on the clock.
The call to play "smart football", look after the ball and use the clock to our advantage was sent out. With the minutes ticking down and the sense of victory nearing the team took the "foot off the throat" and allowed James Cook to score beside the post with 2 mins on the clock remaining. This took the score to 16 - 12.
Needing a converted try to win, and now with the clock as our
enemy the boys rallied by captain Emmett Watch needed to force a
turn over. With their resilient defence this was achieved. It was
as they say "now or never".
Lead by inspiration interchange Ma'afu Likiiliki, once again the boys marched "Through hardship to glory" and were able to score adjacent to the post allowing for the easy conversion and snatch victory in the dying seconds.
The team would like to thank the many supporters that were as much a part of the victory, " such that our honour may live evermore."
Also we would like to wish a speedy recovery to two of our bravest, Jamain Filiga and also Lanu Maiava. Take care boys.
I a manuia.
Report: Joe Lundon
Jamain Fliga, Lanumoana Maiava, Luke Wainui, James Findlayson, Mac Numia, Adam Henry, Kodye Rihari, Emmett Watch, Stephen Papa, Keanu Brown, Jordane Peteru. Josh Tu'i, Conor Mau'u, Jerome Makapatama, Redmyn Taulu, Feretilualua and Ma'afu Likiliki.
To the MAGS Rugby League Team,
I write this to wish you all the very best with your match this afternoon. It is a great honour to be able to represent "Our Great School" and even greater be able to run out in front of your fellow students onto the famous No.1 pitch of Mt Albert Grammar.
To be an Albertan Lion is a badge you wear for life and one that you wear with dignity and pride. As a student at MAGS I did not know where my career would take me- but after playing for 16 years and now having coached for 3, I recognize the important role that being a MAGS student and a MAGS sportsman has played in helping me achieve my goals.
MAGS has a long and proud Rugby League history and all the players that have gone before you will be cheering you on as you go into battle for the "Mighty Lions." MAGS has produced many International Rugby League players and each and every one of them wish you well this afternoon.
I personally look forward to monitoring your teams progress and I know other former students too, such as Thomas Leuluai, Steve Matai (Kiwi World Cup Winners),Tevita Leo-Latu, Se'e Solomona along with Sonny- Bill Williams all wish you the very very best for today and for your journey ahead.
I know you will stand tall and proud when you wear the colours of our great school and I know you will wear the Lion on your chest with courage, bravery and distinction. "Be the best you can because you can be the best."
Assistant Coach Leeds Rhinos
Head Coach Toa Samoa
"Through hardship to glory Mt Albert create us, such that our honour may live ever more!!"